I consider it a privileged to be instrumental in providing a safe, compassionate, and non-judgmental environment for the post-abortive to experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church must be like a “field hospital after battle”. Rachel’s Vineyard of Colorado has been this “field hospital” since May of 2002 providing the space and time for men and women to be healed by Jesus, the Divine Physician. Each person on Friday evening of the Retreat is met with love and mercy and is invited into a place of warmth and acceptance. Pope Francis also stated that he himself has personally felt the mercy of God in his own life and wants others to experience the same. When a person experiences the love and mercy of God, they fall in love with God and their lives become transformed.
Through the Pope’s pastoral style, he is trying to give us new eyes to see and new ears to hear this love. He has set a different tone; one that Rachel’s Vineyard has had since its inception. Bring people to a place of safety, let them reveal their sin, bind their wounds, and set them on a path toward a personal relationship with God.
2013 was a pivotal year. It was then that we faced large increases in requests for our services and then that God put it on our hearts that He wishes us to take the necessary steps to plan for the future. Thus began our fundraising journey. We implemented our Wine & Dine event to both increase awareness and capacity and have since made strides in clarifying our direction. We have developed an organizational plan to enable further growth of our ministry here in Colorado.
The more that women and men recognize the impact that the choice of abortion has had on their lives, the more our services are sought. The greater number of post-abortive we can minister to, the stronger the pro-life mission becomes. In his address to post abortive women, St. John Paul the Great stated: "With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life”. Imagine that, he says that post abortive women can “become the most eloquent defenders of life” Wow. In my experience, as contradictory as it may sound, an important message I want to impart is that there is no group of pro-life people more compassionate and loving than those who have been healed from an abortion experience. They don’t want any other woman to experience the grief and loss they have experienced as a result, and therefore, become willing voices for the pro-life cause.
I’d like to tell you the story of my rock. I acquired this rock when my work with Rachel’s Vineyard began in 1996. It later came with me on my move to Colorado in 1999. On the retreat weekends we use a stone similar to this one as a symbol. Each person is given a stone to carry for the weekend. For some people it can represent the hardness of heart they developed since having an abortion. For others it can be symbolic of the stone they hurl at themselves because of feelings of guilt and unworthiness. It represents the negative things that have happened in their heart and soul since their abortion. By the end of the weekend, God has transformed their hearts and minds and they are able to put the stone down. Then they are invited to ask Jesus to replace it with whatever they want or need to live their life as a beloved son or daughter of God.
This rock has been resting in my living room for 19 years and we at Rachel’s Vineyard are now making efforts to find a new resting place for it. I believe that God has assigned this stone to be the cornerstone for a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Sanctuary here in Colorado. God has put it on our hearts that we must serve more post abortive men and women and that He wishes us to someday have a facility where we can hold numerous retreats and offer aftercare programs to further minister to them.
It is good to allow the post abortive group of women and men to come out of the shadows and let their light shine as the pro-life people they have become because of God’s mercy. They are the greatest witnesses to the fruit of His Mercy and can give birth to the culture of life we envision. When Post abortive men and women experience God’s forgiveness and love, they will no longer avoid the truth, but live in the truth. They will have the courage to speak out and say abortion is NOT the answer – Life is the answer.
Much thanks to all of you who support our “field hospital” - Rachel’s Vineyard of Colorado. Since May 2002 we have provided 37 retreats and bound up the wounds of more than 370 women and men who are profoundly touched by the healing love of God. They leave with the desire to become all that He created them to be; God’s precious children working according to His will and purpose.
I hope you will help us answer God’s call to expand our ministry and to someday make a Retreat Sanctuary a reality. We rely on your support to continue God’s work in this ministry. Thank you.
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Edith Gutierrez, LPC
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Receive a Free Gift!
SAINT JOHN PAUL THE GREAT
His Five Loves
By Jason Evert
As a special thanks for your donation of $25 or more we will send you a paperback copy featuring never-before published stories of our beloved Pope John Paul II!